My son's birthday was Nov. 9th and taking him to Chikara was my birthday present to him. His first live wrestling show. My mom, my sister, my wife and my mother-in-law(also attending her first wrestling show) all came along. Only my wife and son had seen Chikara before hand. Just want you guys to know what I was dealing with going into this show.
FACT: Gavin Loudspeaker is the most awesome hype dude in wrestling. He's so good at keeping the energy up between matches and making everything sound EPIC. Even the referee's names. For the pre-show song he sang a little Chikara ditty to the tune of The Cars "Just What I Needed".
DA SOUL TOUCHAZ vs. THE BATIRI
If you keep up with me and my reviews, you know Da Soul Touchaz hold a special place in my rasslin' heart. They're one of my favorite groups in the world, and provide so much energy and fun any time I see them. This match was tons of fun and great opener. The Batiri are a killer tag team and can do pretty much everything. Their style works in harmony with their look - agile and vicious, and they're pretty precise in the execution. Soul Touchaz had the win after Willie nailed a powerbomb from the top but that darn Ophidian stuck his nose in the action helped the Batiri steal one. I'm bummed my home town guys weren't victorious but it was so much fun that I'm okay with it. Really I'd love to watch these six wrestle each other more because they were so complementary to each other.
DEVESTATION CORPORATION vs. WAYNE & GARTH
Wayne and Garth are actually Chris Castro and Matt Knicks who you may have read about in my Resistence Pro Reviews. They came out dressed like themselves, not as Wayne and Garth though. Their opponents were Destruction Corporation who are doing a Power & Paint gimmick, which I LOOOOOOVE. It was pretty clear that Wayne and Garth were meant to get squashed pretty quickly and that's what happened. Still, Knicks and Castro did their job really well and tried to make these two bruisers look good. The only downside was the one botch where Knicks got tossed by Max Smashmaster into Blaster McMassive's arms. McMassive couldn't keep from falling down and crashed into the ropes. Knicks looked like he took the rope right across his face, which I'm sure felt awesome. For those reading my New Generation Era Project Reviews, you know I felt at home watching a squash match where a tag team just abuses the hell out of a couple of jabronies.
EL GENERICO vs. SHARD
So this was special. This was my show was my birthday present to my now 5 year old son. He loves Chikara and has probably watched the 2011 King of Trios a million times over the last year. He even pretends his WWE figures are actually the Colony(Chris Jericho is Soldier Ant, for your information). This was his first wrestling show ever and he dressed up in his lucha mask and cape for it. When Generico came out everyone stood up to cheer him on because he's, you know, awesome. So I picked my son up so he could see one of his favorite Chikara competitors. Generico went around the rings slapping hands and stopped when he saw my son. He climbed over the first two rows, and took my son from me. Generico then held my son out to crowd like Rafiki did Simba in the Lion King and the crowd cheered. I've sung the praises of Generico for a while because, like I said, he's awesome, but this takes the cake. He made my son's birthday incredibly special, and made me look like a pretty cool dad for taking my son to the show.
The match was pretty kick ass too. Crowd was rabid, Generico was fantastic at looking like he was in danger, and Shard was great at cutting Generico's offense off. It was sprinty with just the right number of nearfalls and drama without going into overkill. Certainly one of the best matches of the show, and one people should probably look for. I honestly can't go into too much detail probably because I was busy trying to keep my eyes from overflowing.
F.I.S.T. vs. SOLDIER ANT & DeviANT
Chuck Taylor is a guy I'm mixed on everywhere else but CHIKARA. His work just translates better in this setting than anywhere else. It's kind of weird seeing him and Gargano together since the last time I saw them Gargano was superkicking thumbtacks out of Taylor's mouth, but I got over it. The feuding partner was handled relatively well here. Soldier Ant got beat up pretty good through out the match and when he made his big comeback he went to the corner for the tag, then Saluted at DeviAnt and yelled "SIR NO SIR!" and ran back into the fray, presumably on a suicide mission. Sadly it didn't pay off and FIST capitalized on the problematic relationship between the two ants to secure the win. I think this match was okay, but it also was in a tough position of getting the crowd back up after the high excitement of the previous match.
COLT CABANA vs. MIKE QUACKENBUSH
This was fun, and they did a great job moving from moment to moment. Unlike the other matches it didn't follow the same format, building to a BIG EPIC finish, which was to the show's benefit in my opinion. We got kind of blown up after the Generico match and we still had quite a few matches left. The ending kind of came out of nowhere and the abruptness felt kind of realistic, with Quackenbush in disbelief that was over. While this may not stick out like the other matches, I think it was a great change of pace from the rest of the show and kept the audience fresh for what was to come.
JIMMY JACOBS & THE BRAVADOS vs. FIRE ANT, JIGSAW, & AssailANT
More feuding partner stuff between the two ants, but this one was more fun, because poor Jigsaw(or Rubix if you Crossed The Line) was in the middle of it. Bravados actually fit in perfect with Chikara, and look like total tools, and they were totally down with interacting with the crowd. Jimmy Jacobs is a guy I've discovered kind of late, and I really enjoy him. He was great here as a douche-y heel, and took some nasty bumps, one of which was on the apron that, while probably unnecessary, was definitely appreciated by me, as I am a total bump whore. The big story was that AssailANT was trying his damndest to get Fire Ant to trust him, to the point that the crowd was chanting "BE HIS FRIEND!". Eventually Fire Ant gave in but just as the two partners started to get rolling they were sneak attack by the RoH invaders and took the loss. This was expected with the huge Season Finale match coming up between RoH and CHIKARA, and it was done in a way to both further the Colony storyline and protect the wrestlers from looking bad. Competent booking....YAAAY!
TIM DONST vs. GRAN AKUMA
This was actually kind of disappointing. Akuma didn't seem as snappy and the character evolution of Tim Donst isn't really jiving for me. I get that he's getting all serious in a bid for the Kingston's Grand Championship, but it feels kind of boring to me. I do like him with his shaved head, he looks kind of creepy like a supporting cast member of American History X. That was an awkward compliment I think, but I'm going to own it. Donst won after KO'ing Akuma with a foreign object and applying From Dusk Till Donst, which is an awkward looking submission hold that I really don't like either. Sounds like I'm shitting on the dude, and yeah, my son fell asleep during this match, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds. It sounds like I'm shitting on the dude, but I do think he's talented and a good heel(being unlikeable is hard these days you guys), I'm just having trouble connecting to this new direction for his character.
ELIMINATION TAG MATCH
ICARUS & SUGAR DUNKERTON vs. 3.0 vs. THE THROWBACKS vs. THE MYSTERIOUS HANDSOME STRANGER & SAPPHIRE
This is probably the match of the night and one of the best matches of the year. I LOOOOOOOOVED THIS. For one it had an amazing grasp of all the overlapping stories. You had the awkwardness between Sugar D and Dasher Hatfield and the triangle between Veronica, Mr. Touchdown and The Mysterious And Handsome Stranger, who for the sake of brevity I will refer heretofore as Not-Archie. On top of those stories you had the match structure which was partially built around the idea of Not-Archie tagging in an inanimate bird. The crowd wanted it really bad, and the wrestlers did a solid job of teasing it out and building the anticipation. When Sapphire was finally tagged in the place went nuts. She devastated the competition with Wing Blocks and a Flying Head Butt. She focused most of her attacks on Mr. Touchdown nailing him with a Go 2 Sapphire and a Flying Beakbutt. Touchdown some how managed to kick out at 2.9999999....and then all hell broke lose.
Touchdown picked up Sapphire, and shoved her into a bag. He then repeatedly smashed the bag into the mat to the horror of everyone but my mother, who started to yell out "Do It Again!" Not-Archie then looked in the bag and screamed in agony. He got up ready to destroy the dastardly Mr. Touchdown, but his anger blinded him, and TD was able to pin him for the win. Gavin Loudspeaker solemnly announcing their elimination was pretty tough to listen to, as we all knew that the match wasn't the only thing Sapphire was eliminated from. Vernoica took it pretty hard as well, realizing her boyfriend had just killed a bird, and awkwardness between the two was very apparent.
Sugar Dunkerton got in and started yelling "WHAT DID YOU DO?" and then went on a barrage fighting both for the fallen Sapphire and for his pride as a former Throwback. I should probably take this moment to mention how good Sugar Dunkerton is. Again. Sugar is fantastic at switching hats, going from fun loving entertainer to vengeful wrestler, without feeling forced and phony. I've talked a lot about how effective he is at pulling of the Lock Down gimmick in R-Pro, and he his ability to commit to any situation was on full display in this match. In the ring he's good at fitting in with pretty much anyone and does a good job supporting and giving the spotlight to his fellow competitors. Sadly he's partnered with Icarus, who found himself locked in to Shane Matthew's devastating Boston Crab with no where to go.
The final stretch between 3.0 and The Throwbacks was as solid as you'd expect, leading to a big win for 3.0. They've got 2 points now towards getting a shot at the tag titles. I don't know if this match will translate on DVD, but I the crowd was absolutely bananas for this match, and I think it's one of the most entertaining experiences I've ever had, wrestling or otherwise.
2 OUT OF 3 FALLS FOR THE CAMPEONATOS DE PARAJAS
THE YOUNG BUCKS(c) vs. SPECTRAL ENVOY
It is soooooo easy for me to hate the Young Bucks. They are the smarmiest looking dudes, and I'll give them credit for playing it up, but Holy Crap do I want these guys to lose all the time. The match was built around Ultra Mantis Black getting destroyed in the first few minutes for the first fall, and being laid out on the outside while Frightmare got beat up for the second. Or Segunda Caida if you wheeeeeeel. There was one nasty looking spot where Black, in a moment of desperation flipped off the apron into of the Bucks on the outside. It just looked rough and reckless just like I like my republican senatorial candidates.
The Batiri were watching from above and like the dick bags they are, they got involved. Before UMB could bring the titles back home with a Chikara Special, Ophidian sprayed mist into Black's eyes, leaving him open to the Bucks' barrage of flips. The Bucks retained and Ophidian and his trolls became mightily hated in my eyes. MIGHTILY HATED INDEED.
Good match that had a tough act to follow. Even though the crowd didn't get what they wanted, I think it was still satisfying enough to keep the throngs of Chicago Chikara fans eager for the company to come back, which will be in May. YAY.
I'll never forget this show for the rest of my life for obvious reasons. My 60 year old mother-in-law who'd never been to a wrestling show loved it, and was trying to figure out how to explain to her Bridge Club how she saw a bird wrestle 6 other grown men. Heaven help us she was even doing the "This Is Awesome" chant the next morning. Claps and everything. My son got to see his favorite wrestlers and got an incredibly special moment from one of the best wrestlers in the world. I can't complain.
But besides all that CHIKARA showed they're a superior company when it comes to booking and providing the crowd with a polished and entertaining product. They have a strong grasp over long term and short term stories, which is something that can't be said for many wrestling companies local and national. And despite many of the crowd favorites losing(Da Soul Touchaz, The Colony, & The Spectral Envoy all lost) I don't feel like anyone walked out feeling cheated.
While I fully recognize that the Chikara brand of sports entertainment isn't for everyone, I think they provide more value for your dollar than just about any wrestling company in the world. Check 'em out live if they're in your area, and grab this DVD when it comes out.